Postcard from Melbourne: The importance of a global perspective when addressing climate change

Freya Harding, Advance member based in Melbourne, with global experience in New Zealand, Chile, the UK, Europe, Guatemala and Mexico.

Freya Harding Contributor, Advance NextGen Participant

‘Follow your heart and your passion’, were words of advice that I was raised on – fed to me as I ‘helped’ my mum pull weeds from the paddock, or from my dad as he showed me a hybrid potato species brought back from the lab. 

It was with this nourishment that I was able to grow my ambition and leap into all that the world had to offer: taking up opportunities to study overseas in New Zealand and Chile, saving up everything to backpack Europe, Au Pairing on a Grouse Farm in Northern UK, moving from country South Australia to Melbourne to study, volunteering with sea turtles in Guatemala and forging the first-ever working secondment in my sector to Mexico.

Interestingly, two common learnings emerged from my travels through these different countries and cultures. The first is that people make all the difference in building an experience – inspiring, teaching, supporting. The second is that I loved being out and about in nature.

How could I combine these learnings and give back as part of my career? The answer has come to me through my current work at Climateworks Centre. I’m still growing on my journey, but right here and now, I’ve found my passion.  I want to be a part of the climate solutions that will change global systems – creating a healthier world and more positive future for us all.

Climate change is going to impact every single one of us – and those who have done the least to add to the problem, are going to be the worst affected.

I picture the school students who I spoke to across Australia in my gap year grinning at me, the migrants I shared a house with in Chile making me arepas, the local cook’s daughter I sat with on the black sand of Guatemala watching the sunset . All of these people that have enriched and impacted my life – how will their lives be affected in 30 years time if we don’t act now?

Working with, and being a part of Climateworks Centre gives me hope – our mission is to bridge the gap between research and action to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions for Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. I work across our systems change teams to secure philanthropic funds to enable impact – to influence leaders in business, government and finance to deliver climate research and solutions.

Last year, Climateworks was an active contributor and enabler to tangible net zero goals, pathways and plans across all of these sectors. In 2022, we are focused on scaling the ‘how’ to match our ambition for emissions reductions across multiple country contexts and regions.

This ambition, combined with my international experiences to date, have taught me how much we can learn when we cross pollinate ideas across the world. That’s what motivated me to apply for the Advance NextGen Program. I want to learn from those with a global mindset, as well as explore how I can continue to grow, leveraging my skills and capabilities to give back, both internationally, and upon my return to Australia.

The program and NextGen community has been brilliant – each speaker has shared practical ‘real-world’ tips on pursuing a global career and big ideas. I’m now on a journey to improve my LinkedIn skills and have already started conversations with others with similar interests, expanding my network.

As I continue to pursue work in the climate action space, I know it’s these networks of people who will be able to create change together. There’s incredible innovation happening around the world in climate solutions and opportunities for us all to learn from each other. I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!

Connect with Freya

Freya Harding is Development Coordinator at Climateworks, an organisation that aims to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions, and is passionate about improving the world we live in – especially in the climate action space. Freya is eager for anyone to reach out to her who wants to talk sustainability, climate solutions, tips on moving overseas and volunteering opportunities. She has international experience in New Zealand, Chile, the UK, Europe, Guatemala and Mexico.